Dream Retrieval Arena. Syd's lying on a table. Cronenberg's trying to explain to her that when most people sleep, they don't realize they're dreaming until they're awake. Vaughn watches Cronenberg attend to Syd from behind a bank of monitors. Cronenberg wants Syd to become lucid in the dream state itself. Syd's all, and how do I do that? Cronenberg's all, oh, don't worry about that. The drugs I'm gonna give you will do most of the work. But I'm gonna monitor your neural activity, just in case. "And when I know you're in REM," he says, "I'll give you a verbal cue over the headphones. Tell me...what was the last thing you remember before your...your missing time?" Syd's all, being knocked unconscious in my apartment. "Oh. I see. Uh, well," sputters Cronenberg, "once you're aware that you're in the dream state, your objective will be to pick up the thread of your last memory in as much detail as you can." "How?" asks Syd. And here, Cronenberg does something that, really, no human being is able to do. At least, no human being that I KNOW OF. He's all, oh, well, it's just, you're gonna, you're just gonna have to feel your way back. "It's like, [bends and manipulates fingers of right hand in such a way as to move them all through each other as if they don't have bones and can easily slide between above and beyond themselves] using a muscle that you've never used before," he says, creeping out the collective viewing audience as only he can. "If you can get to that point, just stay with it, because, ultimately, you will become aware of what happened next." Yeah. David Cronenberg's definitely an alien. Syd doesn't understand. Yeah. You and me BOTH, sister. Cronenberg's all, yeah, I know. You will. Just be aware that, when you encounter a new memory, it might be traumatic. "But it...won't necessarily be real," says Syd. "Oh, it will be to you," says Cronenberg.
Cronenberg puts Syd's headphones on her and wishes her good luck. Then he takes a syringe filled with a rather noxious-looking neon green fluid and plugs it into Syd's IV. And, yes, there's a HUGE air bubble in there. We've just had a dissertation on dream manipulation from David Cronenberg shortly after watching him eat a stick of facon. Do you REALLY want to go for reality in this moment? So, Cronenberg empties the syringe into Syd's IV and hands the empty syringe to his very able-bodied assistant, Kaya, who's now watching over Syd. Cronenberg goes over to the table of monitors where Jack and Vaughn are sitting. He speaks into a microphone and tells Syd that he's going to count down from ten. "By the time I reach one, you will be asleep." He counts. The camera moves in with every numeral. Until, finally, we're close up on Syd's face when Cronenberg reaches one.